Cape Town - Discoveries of ancient cultures and civilisations are always fascinating for archaeologists, historians and travellers who take keen interest in exploring the prehistoric.
Modern technology has certainly fostered more discoveries and a greater understanding of natural and man-made relics from thousands – and even millions – of years ago.
In a recent discovery, according to National Geographic, satellites and drones helped archaeologists find new Nasca lines among dozens of other geoglyphs.
In Nasca province, in the high desert of southern Peru, there are thousands of geoglyphs (“ground drawings”) found on the earth’s surface. Now, more than 50 new examples of these “drawings” which are said to be “almost too fine to see with the human eye”, have been discovered.
According to National Geographic, archaeologists were surveying locally known geoglyphs with drones for the first time, “mapping them in never-before-seen detail”, when the new lines were found.
While some of the new lines belong to the Nasca culture (from 200 to 700 AD), archaeologists suspect that the earlier Paracas and Topará cultures carved many of the new images (between 500 BC and 200 AD), such as needle-like objects, a flying human tied to a monkey, and a variety of birds – including a pelican which is one of the largest and easier images to see.
Check it out:
National Geographic reports that unlike the Nasca lines, which are mostly visible from overhead, the older Paracas lines were on hillsides and visible to villages below.
“The two cultures also pursued different artistic subjects: Nasca lines most often consist of lines or polygons, but many of the newfound Paracas figures depict humans,” says National Geographic.
Hiding in plain sight
Peruvian archaeologist and the new glyphs' co-discoverer, Luis Jaime Castillo Butters, says that most of these figures are warriors. “These ones could be spotted from a certain distance, so people had seen them, but over time, they were completely erased,” he adds.
Many of the lines have been reduced to faint depressions over time, and only advanced technology such as 3D scans of the terrain captured by some drones have made viewing possible.
The new geoglyphs fall within the UNESCO World Heritage Site encircling the Nasca and Palpa lines and are not under immediate threat.